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Saturday, September 3, 2016

MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE

Joel 2:32a New Living Translation
“… everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved …” 
       Joel was a prophet of God who lived and prophesied in obscurity in Southern Judah. He lived in Jerusalem as he mentions Jerusalem and Judah in his writings. His name means “Yahweh is God”. He is the son of a man named Pethuel, which means "the open-heartedness or sincerity of God." Joel is considered by scholars to be one of the ‘minor’ prophets of the Old Testament.
        The book of Joel is broken into two distinct sections: Joel 1:2 thru 2:17, where the prophet speaks and Joel 2:18 thru its conclusion where God speaks. Israel’s sin was that they had been worshipping God in show only and not from their hearts. They went about tearing their robes and calling out to God with their prayers, all the while not living Godly lives. Joel points out in 2:12-13 that God wants them to tear their hearts, rather than their robes in true repentance, for God looks at the heart of a man, not the external. Joel is warning the Israelites to repent or a day of judgment shall surely come upon them. If they repent the judgment will befall their enemies alone and not themselves. Joel seems to be tying this ‘day of judgment’ with the end times ‘Day of the Lord’, when time shall cease and God’s White Throne Judgment will take place.           
       It’s no different today than in Old Testament times when people would stray and in love God sought to bring them back into the fold. That’s how much God loves us. We have the tendency to take God and His blessings for granted. Our faith turns into nothing more than empty rituals and forms done out of duty rather than desire. The moral decay that has taken place in our nation is indicative of our inattention to the things of God. Our Heavenly Father is fair and just; His loving kindness towards us is matchless. He gives us chance upon chance to ‘right our ship’, so to speak, and once again seek His face in obedience. We should take heed of Joel’s words to the nation of Israel for the same undoubtedly applies to us today. His patience is lasting; however, there is coming a day when it will be too late to repent and be forgiven for our indifference to the things of God. Joel’s message is for believers in God, not the heathen. And it’s for us today, for in reality, we are no different than the Israelites in Joel’s day. Making God’s grace a cheap and valueless thing is a sin. Yet God patiently waits for us to recognize and acknowledge Him once again not just as our Savior, but also as our Lord. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.

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